Friday, May 23, 2008

NL East: Inside Look

I think we've made our readers well aware that the Marlins are in first place right now, but can they really win this division? Below, I'll list the current standings and then make a case for each team...beginning of course with the present-day champion.

1. Florida 27-19
2. Atlanta 26-21
3. Philadelphia 27-22
4. NY Mets 22-23
5. Washington 20-28

Combined record: 122-113 (+9)

Florida: At the beginning of the year, they weren't even worthy of being called a "dark horse," at least according to most pundits. Projected almost unanimously for fifth place, the experts are singing a different tune these days. To sustain their dominance, the Marlins will need more consistent outings from the bottom of the rotation, maintain the lights-out bullpen, and manufacture more runs. This team definitely has more upside, but a lot can go wrong.

Atlanta: I'm beginning to see the Braves as the biggest threat. Early bullpen struggles hampered them through April, but they're really coming on right now. Perhaps the most telling statistic is their unearthly run differential (232-172), which fits a 30-17 record. The 2-12 record in 1-run games has killed them, but fortunes can turn quickly.

Philadelphia: A difficult team to judge. Where would this squad be if Ryan Howard had played anything like his 2006 MVP year? Who knows what to expect from such a crestfallen, star-crossed city long overdue for a fortuitous bounce? With Cole Hamels and Chase Utley leading the way, this team is certain to be in the mix through the end. There's a lot of room to go up.

NY Mets: Do NOT sleep on the Mets. They're loaded with talent, they can make a number of cash-dropping deadline moves, and Willie Randolph's near-end could spark a whole new atmosphere. As far as I'm concerned, they're just as much in the thick of things. And let's face it...99% of the country would bet on them to finish ahead of the Marlins.

Washington: The stiffness of the competition, combined with a lack of talent, does not bode well for the Nats. HOWEVER, the same was remarked about a certain 19-29 team in 2003, which went on to win the World Series. The Nats have played much better ball of late, and they could sneak into the division race with a couple good winning streaks. I'm not counting them out.

I'm not going to predict final records, but I'll give each team's probability of winning the division:

Marlins: 25%
Braves: 30%
Phillies: 25%
Mets: 18%
Nationals: 2%



Gerald said...

I know you guys are Marlins fans, but coooooome on! No way do the Marlins have a 25% chance. More like 30% for Phillies, Braves, Mets and 10% for Marlins.

JSponge said...

As much of a Marlins fan as I am, I have to agree with Gerald on that one...but I still think teh Marlins might just win this year despite the odds!